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Rene Capone – Artist Profile By Alan Bennett Ilagan

Rene Capone – Artist Profile By Alan Bennett Ilagan

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Published by René Capone
Artist & writer Alan Bennett Ilagan takes a moment to talk with and write a short expose article about Rene just before the exhibition of his of new "Hedgehog Boy" paintings that were about to be unveiled at Magnet in San Francisco's Castro district.
Artist & writer Alan Bennett Ilagan takes a moment to talk with and write a short expose article about Rene just before the exhibition of his of new "Hedgehog Boy" paintings that were about to be unveiled at Magnet in San Francisco's Castro district.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: René Capone on Nov 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Rene Capone – Artist ProfileBy Alan Bennett Ilagan
There is something slightly jarring about meeting Rene Capone for the first time. Likemost artists whose work spills over with passion, pain, and moody evocation, you can’t help buthave a tiny expectation that the person will somehow be the physical embodiment of suchemotion – a tortured, brooding, dark visage cloaked in furrowed brows and mumbling someincoherent statements of genius. Mr. Capone is instead a small, slightly waiflike wisp of acreature, with a ready smile and sparkling, animated eyes – thoughtful behind delicately-framedglasses.Dressed in a simple T-shirt and low-cut jeans, he sets a casual scene in his home, whichdoubles as a studio. On a side street in SoMa, the room is filled with early afternoon light. Thebeginning stages of sketches rest on a low table. Framed work hangs on the walls, ready for anexhibition. It is an ideal location, with the vibrant SoMa scene just down the street, providing theperfect backdrop for an artist like Capone, and it’s a long way from his origins in upstate NewYork.“Being a young child in New York state was a nightmare. But in high school I learned tobe me no matter what. I came out in high school in a small town, so I took a stance and stuck toit. I was that rebel fag that goes around wearing way too much eye make-up. I gave up the eyemake-up but I’m still a problem child at heart.”Finding San Francisco was like coming home. SoMa is its own living, breathing work of art – the streets, bars, and clubs have maintained their cool cachet in spite of growinggentrification. “It's surprisingly quiet, but if you’re looking for noise you can certainly find it,”Capone maintains. “The best bars and clubs are in the Soma district. Living in San Francisco isvery inspiring because it is a place where people are sort of given a license to do and bewhomever they want. I love interesting people so that gives me a lot of inspiration.”San Francisco ~ with its chaotic cast of characters and their wonderfully wacky stories ~has long been a haven for creative types. The city and its moods are as variable as the fog, and itscolorful history and ongoing development provide a fitting canvass for artists of all sorts.Capone’s method is a natural, unforced one.
“It starts with an idea,” he begins. “Then I start looking for imagery and slowly startdeveloping the paintings in my head. Then I make sketches, and lastly I start the painting. Mostof the work happens in my head before it physically happens.”In the studio where he works, there is stillness and quiet – both evoking a sense of peaceand contemplation – a moment ripe for pause and reflection on his working process, and all thathas gone into where he is today.This year marks a milestone in Capone’s life journey. “Roughly ten years ago I sold myfirst painting,” he says. “It was a big deal back then, and it still is now. The idea that my artwork holds up enough merit to be included in other peoples lives, other than my own, is veryimportant and special to me.”In the past decade, Capone has grown as an artist and a man, and in that evolution is adeeper understanding of how his art fits into the world, and what that means. He is thoughtfulwhen discussing his take on the value of art in today’s world. “I learned that stories and imageryare the most important thing that we as people have to give to each other and those after us.”His latest exhibit is a switch from previous projects, featuring a main character –Hedgehog Boy – who explores the realm of fantasy, of the nether region between the sane andthe insane – the time when a person delves into their darker thoughts, abandoning reason andconvention, and stepping off the precipice of what’s normal. Like his artistic protagonist, Caponealso goes further than he has in any of his previous work.“The show is a big turning point for me as I’ve never made a character and focused somuch on him before,” he explains. “There will also be a few paintings that are not of Hedgehogboy, but they are similar in tone, so I think they belong. It’s the story of an outsider, who goeseven farther outside by slipping into insanity, a rather fun and sexy insanity, but still fuckingnuts. I've always been fascinated by the idea that one could get lost within their own mind.Hedgehog boy is what happens when one falls too deep within themselves.”These are heady themes, and Capone’s work deftly conveys the drama at hand. Thepieces for his Hedgehog series are vibrant, bold, seering – utilizing rich pigments and in-your-face bursts of color and rough strokes. Magentas, deep blues, and traces of blood red punctuatethe color scheme – entire backgrounds are soaked in hot fuschia and red-tinged violets, whileindigo and dark cobalt add a cooling, grounding base.

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